When Doctor Who was relaunched in 2005, there was a problem with audiences having a wide spectrum of familiarity – or lack thereof – with the property. This was dealt with by introducing the mystery of the Time War, a final conflict between the peacekeeping Time Lords and the megalomaniacal Daleks that resulted in the destruction of both races and the Doctor as its lone survivor. Not knowing what happened put all viewers on the same footing and just as eager to learn the details.
To fill the void left by the absence of a new season of Doctor Who arriving any time soon, we’ve instead been gifted Time Lord Victorious, a massive transmedia event told across comics, books, short stories, audio, games and even an escape room. And the first publication, the premiere issue of a comic series of the same title, has made an enormous retcon by erasing the Time War from canon.
The comic sees the Daleks under assault from a mysterious new antagonist named the Hond who intend to annihilate the fascist pepper pots, resulting in the cyborgs calling on their old enemy for help. During the encounter, it becomes apparent that from the Daleks’ perspective, the Time War never happened, from which the Doctor realizes that some major alterations have been made to the timeline that require his investigation. Additionally, his realization that the Daleks are afraid – something nigh-unheard of in a race that considers all emotion to be weakness – means the danger is so great he can’t look away, even if it would mean the destruction of his greatest foe.
Retcons are inevitable for any title that endures long enough, and Doctor Who, having debuted in 1963, has received more than its fair share, although changes as huge as this have a tendency to be reversed sooner or later. However, the scale of Time Lord Victorious, running throughout the rest of this year and well into the next, means we’ll have to wait for some time to discover the truth behind everything that’s happened.